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Bennett’s Decision is Rational and Reasonable

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett ruled last week that petitioners do not have sufficient legal grounds for a vote to recall County Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau. The petitioners complained about Commissioner Ranzau’s leadership proposing changes to a federal nutritional program, cuts to the county’s health department budget for 2016, and the County Commission’s refusal to accept any federal grant money for funding some public health programs.   

District Attorney Bennett’s ruling held that Kansas law does not compel a county commission to vote in a certain way and that the power to make decisions rests with the entire body collectively and not with any individual commissioner. Otherwise, any vote cast by a county commission or an individual commissioner could become grounds for a recall election. This would be impractical, and I think this would contribute little to the health of the body politic. District Attorney Bennett’s decision is rational and reasonable.  

People who are unhappy with the decisions of the County Commission or of any one Commissioner should be advised that Kansas law is clear that the grounds for a recall are conviction of a felony, misconduct in office, and the failure to perform duties prescribed by law. Those who are dissatisfied with certain officeholders can work for their defeat by recruiting and supporting candidates of their choice at the next scheduled election.  

Dr. Ken Ciboski is an associate professor emeritus of political science at Wichita State University.